Three adults. Eight pets. Two cars.
That’s how Regent University assistant professor Megan Weaver-Seitz made the cross-country move from her home-state, California, to join School of Communication & the Arts faculty.
Weaver-Seitz made the move with her mother and husband, juggling three cats, two turtles, two birds, and a fish from a career of casting, freelance broadcasting, theater directing and a stint of film directing at Chapman University.
“I tell my students that I made bad films, too,” said Weaver-Seitz. “They’re tucked away so I can look at them and laugh.”
Her directing experience began, almost out of the gate, with a connection with Oscar-nominated actress, Hailee Steinfeld. The two met when Weaver-Seitz worked as an assistant director on set of one of her friend’s films. Steinfeld was cast as an angel, and Weaver-Seitz was immediately impressed.
“She didn’t have any lines, but she had to cry a lot so she’d use a cry stick,” said Weaver-Seitz. “And when you put those in your eyes, the burn. And I knew she’d do whatever she had to do, I saw a lot of dedication in her.”
Before landing her outbreak role in True Grit, she’d worked on set of four short films, one of which was Weaver-Seitz’s thesis project, Without Wings.
“I have a great affinity for working with children, and not everyone can do that as a director,” she explained.
Her love for working with children is what peaked her interest in casting and working the seven-day workweek grind for casting offices in Los Angeles, on top of piecing together freelance work as a broadcaster, until a “major car accident” set her back.
“I shouldn’t have walked away from it,” said Weaver-Seitz. “It made me realize my priorities were a little out of whack as far as work and life-balance should be. I love work, but I realized my relationships were important. My relationships were what got me back to the center of loving directing to begin with.”
So she set out to Orange County to regain the “human experience” – to connect with others in the name of being a better director. There she began directing stage shows and stepping into the role of actress, all in the name of getting uncomfortable.
“I wanted to step into their shoes just to be scared again,” said Weaver-Seitz.
The “ethereal” nature of directing and understanding that not every project is the “same ball of wax” is a huge component of learning the art. Every day on set there are crew changes, cast changes, day-to-day the morale on set changes.
And the name of the game, according to Weaver-Seitz, is discernment.
“Directing is about being sensitive to what people are going through, and that’s hard to teach sometimes,” said Weaver-Seitz. “There are habits you can form to get in the rhythm, but sometimes at the end of the day, you’re feeling it out.”
Weaver-Seitz said that the tradition of mentorship is strong in the directing field, and lives by the credo that practicing the craft will make a director more confident, but never quite 100-percent prepared for every situation that unravels on set.
“It’s more about having that experience under your belt and making wise decisions in the moment,” said Weaver-Seitz.
And as for her time at Regent, she’s excited for the opportunities ahead, both for finding new landscape opportunities other than California-desert for her work, and also for her students just a stone’s throw from large pockets of the film industry like the “little Hollywood” of Atlanta.
“The welcoming I’ve received here has been awesome,” said Weaver-Seitz. “There’s a lot more passion and drive here and I’m finding students who really want to learn, which is huge.”
Learn more about Regent University’s School of Communication & the Arts.